e_moon60 (e_moon60) wrote,

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Things Jesus Didn't Say: "Hate Gays and Be Glad When Someone Kills Them."

Just to be perfectly clear about this, and the easiest way to check up on what I'm saying:  Read the Gospels, in a good translation (avoid the so-called "Conservative Bibles" that are not accurate to the existing oldest texts.)  King James is OK, not the best, but OK.  My desk Bble is The New English Bible, the New Testament part coming out first in 1961, benefitting from additional scholarly study and the discovery of older texts than were available to those working in the 17th century.

Jesus did not say (or, if you're not convinced the Gospels come remotely close to what the historical Jesus said, Jesus has not been claimed to say) that homosexuals were sinful and deserved death.  Jesus did not say to hate homosexuals.  Jesus did not say to attack homosexuals.  Jesus did not mention homosexuals male or female.  The only types of people whose sexual behavior Jesus commented on were 1) men who divorced their wives, and 2) men and women who committed adultery (that is, they were married and they willingly had sex with someone other than their spouse.   And that is why I think so-called Christians (individuals, church leaders, entire congregations) who say that some sexual identities (gay, lesbian, bisexual, trans, whatever) are totally evil and deserve death and it's OK to rejoice at a massacre in a nightclub...are wrong, and not acting as  Christians at all.  Because the essence of Christianity is following Christ and that's not where Christ went.

So where did all the anti-gay rhetoric come from?   Not from Jesus Christ, the person on whom Christianity is founded, and the Person Christians are told to emulate....but from the Old Testament strictures on male/male sex (where female/female sex isn't mentioned) and from other people, specifically Paul in the various Letters to this and that group of Christians.  And from an attempt to separate Christians from pagans, some of whom were "openly" gay because only Jews and Christians (some Christians) cared.   Yes, there are passages in the Old Testament declaring that sexual acts between men are wrong and God will smite (them, a city, a nation) for doing it. 

There are also passages in the Old Testament that define clean and unclean foods and required rules for living a holy life than 99.999% of Christians never even think about.  Including some of the most gay-hating.  (Chicken-fried steak with cream gravy...not OK.   Hamburger and milkshake, not OK.   Baby back ribs, pork chops, pork sausage, ham:  not OK.   Crawfish  and crab boils, not OK.  And lots more.) 

In the New Testament, we mostly have Paul, formerly Saul, who converted from a self-righteous Pharisee persecuting the early Church--a well-educated, high-ranking religious lawyer, thoroughly familiar with Jewish law--a group most eager to destroy this (to them perverted and disgusting) new branch of their religion.   He had a religious experience on the road to Damascus, he changed his mind...but he carried with him all the scholarship and deeply engrained beliefs of his former occupation--rooting out heretics.  So OK, now he believed Jesus had been the Messiah, and had been raised from the dead...but he hung onto a lot of things familiar to him (not surprising) and added them in, from his own certainty (which never wavered) that Jesus would have said that if only Jesus had thought of it, or had time.  Including a lot of his own certainty that God was more concerned with sexual behavior than with all those things Jesus actually said.

So if Jesus didn't say anything about homosexuality in the Gospels, what was he spending time talking about and teaching about?   The abuse of worldly power by judges, priests, tax collectors, soldiers, rich people, proud people...and the connections between worldly power and money, the way money corrupts human interactions, warping them and leads to abuses of power.  Greed, cruelty, scoffing and ridicule (verbal bullying), dishonesty and cheating (especially the poor), quarreling and fighting.   The duty of everyone to love not just friends, not just the person next door, but strangers, people outside the family, neighborhood, village, town.  That love isn't just a word, but a series of acts: feeding the hungry, housing the homeless, clothing the naked, giving water to the thirsty, visiting the sick and imprisoned, noticing people in need (any need) and providing it.   Not labeling people as evil (not judging) because human judgments are skewed by human faults that those who have them often don't recognize. 

Parable after parable.  Sermon after sermon.   One on one, one on a group, one to a vast audience: the same basic messages: don't be greedy, don't be cruel, don't value money, clothes, jewels over the life that comes with living in the spirit of love, don't huddle up in safety and let others suffer, don't spend all your time criticizing others when you're imperfect yourself.  Make your life of value by  investing in generosity, kindness, gentleness, love, using the talents you've been given to make things better for others as well as yourself.  Feed, clothe, house, heal, visit, encourage, help...love.  That's what love is.  And love casts out fear.

It's not easy.  He knew it wasn't easy; he flat said it wasn't easy and his followers could expect persecution because they would be going against the flow.   It's easy to be scared--it was easy then and it's easy now and it's always been easy to be scared.  And scared people curl in on themselves, huddle up, form tight little groups to keep others out, to keep the resources for themselves.   They make up reasonable sounding reasons not to share, not to help others ("It teaches them to be dependent.  It's bad for their character.  They don't deserve it.")   Fear convinces them there are more enemies, more dangers, than they can handle, so they must be hard, cruel, selfish, and show anger and hatred to anyone who's not in their group.

They "love" only their own, but their love isn't the free-flowing love Jesus was talking about.   Love cannot take away fear unless it is allowed to grow, and push fear out because there's no room for it--and to grow,  it must be acted out as Jesus said to act it out. Now some hate-preaching churches do have outreach--but it does not extend past their familiar comfort zone.  They will feed the deserving hungry.   They will house the deserving homeless.   They may at the same time be turning away those they feel aren't deserving (I've run across churches unwilling to help alcoholics or drug addicts or people not of their denomination or gays, just to start with.)

So...when a church says gays are evil and against God and deserve death....they are teaching hatred, not love, and that's not Christian.  Same if they say that about any group.  They're wrong.   And yes, that's a judgment.  And I am, God and I both know, fallible and biased.  But for those who care about Scripture, I have Scripture on my side, and a whole lot of better scholars than I am in my denomination.   I am not trying to make new doctrine: I am sticking to what Jesus taught.  "I give you a new commandment: Love one another as I have loved you."
Tags: christianity, gays, hatred, love
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